Set for release spring 2017, The Beatitudes Project - a book: Words From the Hill (An Invitation to the Unexpected) from NavPress, a full-length album: Beatitudes with The Fuel Music, and a documentary film currently in the works - reveals a wide world of connected stories: real people from all faiths and walks of life who embody mercy, poverty, meekness, the hungry and thirsty, the peacemakers, the mourners, and the pure in heart-as seen, heard and experienced through a twenty-first century lens.
Over a decade in the making, the project is the culmination of guitarist, songwriter and author Stu Garrard's (Stu G) excavation of these "blessings at the bottom of life." For the album, he explored in community with like-minded artists across a wide swath in the musical landscape.
Celebrated artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Martin Smith join singer/songwriters like Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, John Mark McMillan, Joel Houston and Amanda Cook and innovators like Propaganda, All Sons & Daughters, Terrian Bass and The Brilliance-artists who collectively have sold more than 62 million records, won 11 Grammy, 90 Dove Awards and amassed dozens of hit songs and millions of followers on social media-to unearth the words of Jesus in unexpected ways.
"The Beatitudes Project is meant to be a reset button in a world plagued with violence and division," says Stu G, who also authored the book. "These upside-down Jesus announcements on a hillside by the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 5 where Jews, Greeks, Romans and people of all ethnicities were gathered are a reminder that there is another way."
As ecumenical in nature as in spirit, The Beatitudes Project is an invitation not only to the internal work of getting to know our own lack and ache, showing ourselves mercy and finding peace, but also to the external work of the same; to be present among the people whom Jesus pronounced as blessed.
The first public introduction to The Beatitudes Project premieres today from NoiseTrade, which is offering free for a limited time the first single from the Beatitudes album, "Oh Blessed."
NoiseTrade is also offering the "Peacemakers-Living in the Contested Space" sample chapter from Words From The Hill and the film trailer that highlights some of the people and places Stu G visited on his quest that led to this project (this film is not yet titled). NoiseTrade is further emailing this offer to 1.3 million people.
"'Oh Blessed' is the introduction song to The Beatitudes Project and is the only song so far that speaks of all the themes in the Beatitudes," adds Stu G. "When things are broken and when things aren't working out, God is on our side and fully present with us. We can lift our heads and hear the invitation to carry on."
In addition to Stu G and cowriter Anthony Skinner, "Oh Blessed" features The McCrary Sisters, widely known for singing backup with Elvis and Bob Dylan.
Watch for more information on The Beatitudes Project soon, including additional participating recording artists, the full album track listing, a launch event, video, the album cover art and more.